Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

Frugal Tip: Ditch Paid TV

Continuing with the TV theme of the last few frugal tips, here’s another.

If you are paying for basic cable or satellite TV, consider ditching it for over-the-air (OTA) TV.

Before you get the pitchforks and torches, let me justify my reasoning!

If you didn’t already know, broadcast (or OTA) TV has been transitioning from analog to digital for over a year. This means your old TV won’t be able to pick up anything but static after the switch (June 2009). What it also means is gone are the days of static, ghosting, and poor image/sound quality. The new digital signals render perfectly in standard all the way up to full high-definition (HD). Also, broadcasters are no longer limited to one channel. Out where I live, each “station” (i.e. channel “2”) has at least two “sub-stations” (i.e. channels “2.1” and “2.2”).

A sub-channel can carry repeats of a previously broadcast show, old archive footage, different formats of the shows on the main channel (wide-screen versus 4:3, 720p versus 480p, etc.), alternate programming, and all kinds of other stuff.

All you’re going to need to get these new digital stations is a digital tuner card, in the form of:

Of course, to pull in these channels you’ll want a good antenna. I’d recommend a 7’ to 15’ roof-style antenna mounted in your attic and pointed in the direction of your local TV networks’ broadcast towers. Don’t get suckered in to needing a new “digital” antenna. That $30 antenna from your local Radio Shack or home improvement store will work fine (just make sure it has an RG6 coax-style connector on the cable).

Pointing it isn’t hard and usually doesn’t require much skill, just figure out where the broadcast towers are in relation to your house (call the local stations when in doubt), and point the antenna in that general direction. Keep in mind, you don’t point this kind of antenna like an arrow! Point the NARROW part of the antenna TOWARD the broadcast tower! Many people point their antenna AWAY from the tower then wonder why the signal isn’t great.

What about premium stations?

If you’re hooked on your sports stations, your premium movie channels, or specialty channels, this solution might not be for you. Then again, I have a solution for you that might fix that, too. Look for that in an upcoming Frugal Tip!

Tip Savings

In my area, basic Comcast Digital Cable TV costs $29.99/month; basic satellite through DirecTV costs $29.99/month plus $5/month for local channels; basic satellite through DishNetwork is $19.99 plus $5/month for local channels. It should be noted, these prices are likely for one TV-set only, and additional per month fees may apply for each additional TV.

We’ll average the three, just to be fair, for an annual savings of $359.88!

Frugal Tip Annual Savings
How can you Shave and Save? $27.88
Alternate to Shaving Gels and Creams $47.28
TV on YOUR Schedule $99.00
Ditch Paid TV $359.88

Tune in for our next Frugal Tip!


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1 Response

  1. Cher says:

    A few yrs ago I purchased a pre paid phone from Target; its a T Mobile Sprint phone with no contract but I did have to register it. No monthly fees etc and I didn’t sign up for internet service so I could text. Didn;t know what that was much back then. SO all I did was buy minutes when I needed them and a hundred USD usually kept me just fine.
    Well, I got a free phone from the government finally as I am multiply disabled. It comes with 400 _ minutes and if you need more you can purchase them. Meanwhile I didn’t use the other cell but ran into problems (I thought I misplaced the govt phone) so I bought 50 USD worth of mins from Walgreens for my T Mobile phone. Then realized the battery was dead. Bought one form Radio Shack online and saved a bunch of money! It was like 19 USD while TMoniles is over 50 USD. Went to put my minutes in and discovered they (TMobile) had deactivated my phone due to non use and gve the damn phone numnber to someone else. TOld me I have to go to a TMobile store and pay an activatoin fee and get a new hone. I would love to know how they got off doing this to me when I can;t even afford food let alone these fees? Cher

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